Water restrictions in place in Meath following burst pipeline
Irish Water says outage still affecting homes in Ratoath, Kilbride, Ashbourne and Duleek
Repair crews work on the burst water pipe at Staleen. Photograph: Paul Mohan
The scene at Staleen in Co Meath where a burst occured on the waterpipe. Photograph: Paul Mohan
Customers in parts of east Meath continue to be impacted by water outages and reduced water pressure following the repair of a water pipeline which burst earlier this week.
The pipe, which serves thousands of homes in Drogheda, Co Louth and east Co Meath, is just 20m from a similar burst last year and, if the repair is not successful, could trigger cuts in water supply in the coming days.
Alternative water supplies will remain in place in Ratoath, Duleek, Ashbourne and Kilbride until water supply is restored to all customers, according to an update from Irish Water following a crisis management team meeting on Friday morning.
The group said the repair to the burst pipeline had been completed on Thursday and that water levels in the reservoirs were “continuing to slowly increase”. They did not confirm when water would be fully restored to the area.
Some customers in Ratoath and Ashbourne will have access to water as these areas are being supplied from other water treatment plants. Alternative networks have been reconfigured to ensure a mains water can be supplied to as many customers as possible, said Irish Water.
The group noted that as water supply is restored to customers in Ratoath, Kilbride, Ashbourne and Duleek there could be some reduction in supplies or water pressure in other areas of east Meath.
Irish Water has said it will continue to update customers on the water recovery throughout the day and has asked that customers conserve water until they can confirm a timeline for the resumption of normal water supply.
In Ratoath, bottled water and empty containers to collect water from tankers will be available at the nursing home in the town centre, Donnelly’s hardware and the SuperValu carpark. In Duleek, water supplies are available at the church, St Cianan’s Villas, the industrial estate and O’Neill’s pub, while in Ashbourne water can be collected from Racehill and the Millennium park.
A statement from Irish Water said it had approved the budget and design for a new pipeline to replace the existing lines and that the pipes have been procured.
“We are in the final stages of resolving all of the contractual and regulatory issues and we plan to begin mobilising construction of the pipeline within weeks, with the aim of having the programme completed by year end,” it said.
“Irish Water understands the inconvenience caused due to this burst water main and thanks customers for their patience. Irish Water is working with Louth and Meath County Councils to distribute alternative water supplies to impacted customers and to ensure the repair was carried out as quickly as possible.”
Water supply has been maintained for the majority of customers as the treated drinking water reservoir serving Drogheda and most of east Meath has enough water to maintain supply to customers.
Water supply is being maintained to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Irish Water is also prioritising schools, nursing homes, crèches and vulnerable customers.
It has contacted vulnerable customers in Louth and east Meath and Irish Water and the Louth and Meath County Councils are co-ordinating efforts to ensure bottled water is delivered to them today.
Last July there was a serious burst in the same pipeline, which led to 80,000 homes and businesses going without water supply for nearly a week.
Irish Water managing director Jerry Grant said “by the end of the year” the pipeline would be replaced.
“Last year’s replacement repair has held, there is no issue with that. But the burst is in the same area,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
“This is a very vulnerable pipe as we know from last year, that is why we’re in the process of replacing it,” he said.
Repair crews worked under lights over Wednesday night and the burst section of the pipe has been removed.
“We’re now accessing the repair, that will take time, it will certainly take today, we’re certainly hoping that within 12-24 hours we’ll have the supply back,” said Mr Grant on Thursday morning.
Local Cllr Kevin Callan has called for a nearby out-of-commission water treatment plant at Rosehall to be brought back into use.
However, it is understood recommissioning the minor treatment plant would require the entire water main to be flushed out. This could lead to boil water notices being required in the short term, according to one source in the Department of Housing.